The Madras High Court on Monday extended till November 9 the deadline for implementation of Digital Addressable System (DAS) in Chennai.
Justice N. Paul Vasanthakumar extended the date for the switch over to the digital mode when a writ petition by the Chennai Metro Cable Television Operators Association, seeking deferment of the implementation, came up for further hearing.
In its counter, the Information and Broadcasting Ministry submitted that as per the data available with it, the progress of digitisation of cable television in Chennai was 63 per cent as on November 2. Together with DTH, an alternative digital platform, it was around 86 per cent.
In the counter submitted through the Central government’s senior standing counsel S. Haja Mohideen Gisthi, the Under Secretary in the I and B Ministry, Navil Kapur, said the Ministry had been regularly monitoring the progress of implementation of DAS in Chennai. It had granted registration to six Multi-System Operators (MSOs) to operate in the DAS in Chennai.
The Ministry said it had received a letter of October 16 from the Tamil Nadu Chief Secretary, seeking extension of digitisation deadline by December 31 this year. The letter said to implement DAS in Chennai, Tamil Nadu Arasu Cable TV Corporation, a public sector undertaking, had initially floated a tender for design, supply, installation, testing and commissioning of digital cable television head end with CAS, subscriber management system, one lakh set top boxes (STBs) and rate contract for one year for 19 lakh STBs and service for five years.
Since the rates quoted by prospective bidders were very high, the corporation had to cancel the tender and issue a fresh one. The tender process, delivery of equipment and installation of STBs in households could not be completed within October 31. Hence, the State sought two months time for implementation of DAS.
Counsel for the State government sought time to file an affidavit stating the time limit by which cent per cent STBs could be provided to all customers.
In the order, Mr. Justice Paul Vasanthakumar said in the light of the factual aspect that set top boxes were not available to all customers as on date, the petitioner’s counsel sought time to implead eight other cable TV operators, operating in Chennai, to state how much further time was required to provide STBs to all customers. In such circumstances, he was posting the case for further hearing on November 9.
The interim order already passed was being extended till then, he said.